Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"I Cannot Go Back to the Old Reality"

To honor our young queer people, I will bring you words of the Tel Aviv community as they come to me--I will try not to tell you what connections to make. I thank Il-il for her permission to share this letter with you.

Dear Joan,

The last days have been so exhausting. I've not left the LGTB center in Tel Aviv for 3 days so far, only to go home, change and sleep for a while. There is so much to do, so many teenagers overflowing the center, crying, aching for friends, talking, sharing and just trying to hang out in a safe place. So many radical queer people trying to find their space, to speak, to ache without forgetting our unique identities. "Forget that you are women, trans, butch, femme, religious, secular, Palestinian, Feminist," some rich gay men told us who decided they should lead the way. "This is the time to forget your voice, let us speak," they told us. But we are not quiet, we are raging, more then ever. We have so many demonstrations, so many activities, meetings and actions.

I do not know how tomorrow will look. I cannot go back to the "old reality," the feeling that we are safe in Tel Aviv. I've read "Stone Butch Blues," I've read your "Bathroom Line," and I thought it's history, it's far away. But no. Now it is here. Now in 2009, in Tel Aviv, LGTB youth is being murdered. Kids I've worked with are hospitalized, or having to visit their friends in hospitals only because they were at an LGTB youth activity. Most of them had to come out of the closet on Saturday night, after they were shot and their parents found out they were not where they though they were, in all meanings.

Every kind word I read makes me feel so empowered and excited. I feel excited that newspapers, hegemonic newspapers in Israel and internationally will not stop writing about it. I feel excited to see the list of volunteers that I helped organize today, getting longer and longer....

Il-il K.

However this story unfolds, whomever the shooter is, and why the bullets flew, there is no going back--little by little, the Queer body is emerging as part of a national discourse on the possibility of difference within in Palestine/Israel and beyond.

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